Ramadhan: Realizing Allah

Time moves so fast. Tonight is the 16th of Ramadhan. In a blink of an eye, in 2 weeks’ time, we bid farewell to this blessed month inshaAllah. So what have we lost and not done with those days which had gone by? Allah created the month of Ramadhan as a mercy and love for Prophet sallahu alaihi wa salam and his ummah. Just imagine without the Prophet sallahu alaihi  wa salam, there won’t be Ramadhan, Solatul terawih, laylatul Qadr, let alone Islam. We should be thankful to Allah swt for the blessing – HE swt is giving us the chance to repent as we are weak servants as the ummah of Prophet sallahu alaihi wa salam. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Salam said that whoever does excessive istighfar,he pleases Allah. The connection which was broken through sinning is restored with excessive weeping and crying, restoring the connection of servanthood.

Allah said in the Quran  [meaning]: “O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain Taqwa” [al-Baqarah, 2:183] . The key word here is taqwa. Taqwa has several different layers of meaning and understanding. For some ahli tafsir Quran it means fear Allah, while some sufi sages regard it as be aware of Allah. Somehow it links to Ihsan, Prophet sallahu alaihi wa salam said “It is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you see Him not, He nevertheless sees you.” .  So what has fasting got to do with taqwa? Does abstaining hunger and thirst lead you to taqwa?  Based on the teachings of my teacher, it does, in a way. Having eaten too much food makes you lazy to perform ibadah and over eating meat harms you in such a way it enhances the nafs for bad desires. On the authority of Abu Harayrah radiaAllahuan from the Prophet sallahu alaihi wa salam, who said: Allah swt says:

Fasting is Mine and it I who give reward for it. [A man] gives up his sexual passion, his food and his drink for my sake. Fasting is like a shield, and he who fasts has two joys: a joy whin he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The change in the breath of the mouth of him who fasts is better in Allah’s estimation than the smell of musk.

Imam Ghazali qaddasallahu said in Ihya: The Prophet sallahu alaihi wa salam said: Fight your passion with hunger and thirst. Its merits are equal to those gained by Jihad in the way of God. Nothing is dearer to God then hunger and thirst. The Prophet sallahu alaihi wa salam said: No angel from heaven comes to one who eats belly-full. The Prophet was once asked: Who is best? He replied: One who eats little, laughs little and remains satisfied with cloth necessary to cover his private parts. So fasting has nothing to do with food, especially in Ramadhan. We do need to reflect upon it because every Ramadhan, there seems to be huge wastage of food. Muslims overspend on food lavishing it on their cravings for all kind of foods when they are fasting till they forget the whole purpose of fasting. We have to remember about those Muslims who are unfortunate who are facing famine and drought. There are people in the 3rd world countries who fast and yet they have no food for iftar but because they fast for Allah, their faith and certainty that Allah is their Provider for their sustenance made them fast for HIS sake. Therefore they reminded us of what  Abu Huyarya radiaAllahuan said that the Prophet sallahu alaihi wa salam said, “There are two joys for the fasting person, one at iftaar and one at meeting his Lord. (Musnad Ahmad)

It is in the month of Ramadhan, with Allah’s love, mercy and guide we realize how weak we are and how helpless we really are. We are just HIS servant, without Allah’s support we can’t do anything. So we are in the need of HIM. Therefore a servant calling his LORD, through his heart in repentance Allahumma innaka `afuwun tuhibbu-l’`afwa f`afwa `anna (meaning “O Allah, truly You are all-Pardoning, You love to pardon so pardon us” (3 times). On the third time say “O Most Generous” (Ya Karim).] In regard to forgiveness, in calling Allah’s name, seeking his forgiveness and On the authority of Anas radiaAllahuan, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah sallahu alaihi wa salam say: Allah the Almighty said:

O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it.

It was related by at-Tirmidhi (also by Ahmad ibn Hanbal). Its chain of authorities is sound.

Ramadhan is a month of Tarbiyah (spiritual training), it’s a month of devotion – to strive and struggle as a servant. Struggle is an act of servanthood. Allah is looking at our struggle and Allah loves those who struggle. The struggle will make us realize that everything we do, should be for Allah. Every single action. It is because Allah encompasses everything. HE is our sole provider of our sustenance, HE is the source of our love and knowledge and the source of every single thing that a creation needs. Therefore be thankful and grateful to Allah swt. Prophet sallahu alaihi wa salam used to say Ya Rabb, don’t leave me with a blink of an eye. Imagine it coming from the Leader of Prophets and Leader of all creations displaying such humility… how about us who have no stature of amal. Our amal alone has no value if Allah is to judge us justly.

Whatever we do in Ramadhan, has its effect in the upcoming months inshaAllah. The whole process of tarbiyah in this blessed month will mold our hearts into understanding our journey to Allah swt. It give us the realization on the power of sacred words (Quran) which we often neglect. Shaykh Mahy Cisse said, “All the solutions we have inside Qur’an and sunnah of Muhammad sallahu alahi wa salam every time for everybody, for all situations, Qur’an is the ruh (spirit), “..wa kazalika awhaina ilaika ruhan min amrina ma kunta tadri mal-kitaab, wala al-eeman…” ila akhir ayat. So without Qur’an we don’t have a ruh, w/o quran we don’t have a light. And the light of Qur’an is Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.. They asked ‘Aisyah radiAllahuanha, “How was Rasulullah sallahu alaihi wa salam” She replied,”His manners was the Qur’an (Kaana Khuluqul Quraan).”

Ramadhan taught us to be steadfast in our worship. We are able to recognize our nafs through our weaknesses. It is at this very moment, we realize we need to rely on Allah swt. It is through HIS help we gain consciousness as a servant. So the goal in Ramadhan is Allah, the goal in any other month is Allah. As Mawlana Rumi qaddasallahu said Last night my teacher taught me the lesson of Poverty: Having nothing and wanting nothing. So focus on Allah swt for sure HE guides you to HIMSELF. On the authority of Abu Hurayrah radiaAllahuan, who said that the Prophet sallahu alaihi wa salam said:

“Allah the Almighty said:

‘I am as My servant thinks I am (1). I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a fathom’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.”

Ramadhan is also the month of forgiveness, so forgive your brothers and sisters and Allah will forgive us. Shower people with love and adab regardless whoever they are. On the authority of Jundub radiaAllahuan, who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) related:

“A man said: ‘By Allah, Allah will not forgive So-and-so.’ At this Allah the Almighty said: ‘Who is he who swears by Me that I will not forgive So-and-so? Verily I have forgiven So-and-so and have nullified your [own good] deeds (1) (or as he said [it]).’”

May Allah forgive us, bless us and may Allah give us Allah HIMSELF.